K-16: Land of Lies

Bruce Deitrick Price’s lays out the K-16 land of lies in this important article at American Thinker:

Many college kids can hardly write a proper English sentence, never mind a proper essay.  Meanwhile, the essay-writing industry is huge, churning out tens of thousands of illegal documents.  Naturally, all participants in the scam pretend there’s no scam, and so the scam can go on.

Here’s a recent, terrifying report from an editor:

My organization decided a few weeks back that we needed to hire a new professional staff person.  We had close to 500 applicants. Inasmuch as the task was to help us communicate information related to the work we do, we gave each of the candidates one of the reports we published last year and asked them to produce a one-page summary.  All were college graduates.  Only one could produce a satisfactory summary.  That person got the job.

Here is a good indication of how bad things already were 40 years ago.  One investigator concluded:

If you think America’s English teachers have gone “back to basics” and are solving the literacy problem everyone began shouting about in the 1970s, think again. Recent studies show that English teachers know little about the language they’re supposed to teach. They get poor training in writing at college and, as a group, are bad writers.

professor recently reported:

I am about a decade into my teaching career, but even within this fairly short span, I have noticed a startling decline in the quality of written work turned in by my students, regardless of which institution (community college, private, four year school) the papers are coming from.

So what’s going on?

Even though half the incoming students are completely incompetent at the sentence level, colleges pretend it’s not so. In this piece that explains why so many young Americans can’t write well, Natalie Wexler states, “Colleges simply assume students already know how to write sentences.” Course syllabi and textbooks all peddle the fiction that students can produce grammatical sentences at will, without crude errors like fragments, run-ons, or subject-verb disagreements. That’s grotesquely untrue.

Read more: American Thinker